In the second chapter of kanversations, we got to know Pavel Zhuravlev, a deeply respected wild clay ceramist. Based in Moscow, Russia, Mr Zhuravlev has been making pottery for over 11 years. He is known for his distinct primitive, wabi-sabi aesthetic and creates wild clay ceramics using only his hands and stones for tools. His works are created with unprocessed wild clay, dug from a forest close to his home, and wood-fired in a primitive kiln using ancient techniques where the flame closely contacts the vessel. The intimate space in the kiln leaves a unique pattern on the vessel’s surface, created by the flames of the wood – as a result, the outcome of each piece is always unpredictable and unique.
'Beauty has no conditions and standards.'
How would you describe yourself?
An artist focused on primitive pottery.
How long have you been making pottery for?
About 11 years.
What sparked your love for pottery?
I love the Russian forest, so I wanted to create ceramics in a way that would not harm the environment. Making ceramics in the primitive way is harmonious with nature. I also like the aesthetics and simplicity of a more primitive way of life, similar to the Japanese’s wabi-sabi philosophy on accepting beauty that is imperfect and incomplete in nature.
Where do you get the inspiration for your pottery from?
The universe, the wabi-sabi philosophy, and the dark, dense and swampy Russian forest – with its fallen trees, moss, mushrooms and fairies.
We absolutely love your work, but are curious – can you explain what wild clay is and why you gravitate towards creating wild clay ceramics?
Wild clay is a compound of stones, sand and clay, mixed by nature and the Universe – which I dig from a forest close to my home. The randomness and unpredictability of this combination are what makes each work so unique. I seek to keep the beauty of this mix in my artwork, and leave the stones and sand in the clay as is. As a result, my work reminds one of nature and the beauty of imperfection.
What message do you hope to convey through your art?
Beauty has no conditions and standards.